Sunday, 4 December 2011

26 soggy cabbages, distractions and ideas please....

OK, I appear to have a cabbage emergency on my hands after the carnage after the wee 'gale' or two we had over the weekend. Its not quite a disaster on the scale of the great potato famine or anything - lets not be too dramatic. However, once I disentangle the mangled gale induced random thingstuck in the vegetable garden from each other, (and who knows what I'll find in there) I think to be fair - the cabbages might need to be pulled up. ALL 26 OF THEM (even the smug ones). I really thought I had thisussed - a cabbage a fortnight or once a week through the winter - such a yummy vegetable. I'd hoped to pull them steadily as we needed them. Then again - lets remember the lacerated leek fiasco. They are all now pulled and in the bottom of the fridge slowly being used up I think we're down to 17 leeks in there now. (we have a large fridge which is really getting to be very stuffed full of food). This potential in the making cabbage catastrophe is really on my mind, (like Rhonda, who each week does a great spot 'on my mind' pop over if you like ) so I'd appreciate a help from anyone!

I can't say that I've been noble and got out there and done this yet (remember I denounced gardening forever, well maybe not 'ever') but - I've been busy working. (Which is a pathetic excuse and almost true.) BUT I have actually been working this week,  I do a variety of part time work, (part time wombling, part time gardening work, part time procrastinator, part time food lover and taster.......) thankfully a lot of these pursuits this week have been indoors. I even managed a lovely trip up to the north end of the island twice this week, once to attend a wonderful polytunnel course with a very clever and really knowledgeable chap indeed, Bob. And I'm popping over today for a Xmas craft fair, hope that will be fun!

I have to tell you I do fancy the Bere bannock baking one too - I might even put my name down for that and be inspired to have a go like Janet did.  I do like Bere barely - it is a crop thats researched at my old work (old, but I still get to do a bit there now and again to keep my hand in thankfully). And, recently I found out that the flour or more properly 'Beremeal',  milled in Orkney, its an 'arc food', in the UK, how cool eh? A bere bannock looks like that picture - a kind of flat bread, quick and yummy to make.
Oh dear I do digress, any way, the second trip up to the north end (Birsay) was to run over a couple of missed classes and handouts a lovely chap attending our veggie growing course had missed. Which was really lovely - talking about vegetable gardening indoors, appears to be far preferable to actually going out 'THERE' at this time of year. And he did tell me he liked the handout I did - which really made me feel great - we're trying to write an 'Orkney guide to growing'.  However, sadly that will have to wait, I will have to brave it and get out there and do something about the 26 mangled but hopefully edible cabbages. Even if the weather istill like this.............. a tad windy.

Which brings me nicely to my wind helpful Orkney rotten gale induced required cabbage research and a question you can help me with. Whats your favourite cabbage recipe or way to preserve them?

Mind on I've 26 to do 'something' with and whilst I can accommodate some in the fridge (although who knows where!?!), lob a few at cheeky children or play footbal with them, but I'm going to have to do something with the rest of them. I've grown a variety of types from 'stone head' to savoy to purple/red types being clever I thought that might be good a bit of variety - but I didn't think I'd be picking them all at once. 

Thufar I've come up with a fine web Cabbage Recipes (who'd have know there was an entire website for cabbages, noble neeps yup I'd have believed that (Linnew would too), but cabbages, eh.....the things you learn).

Therefore, I'm challenging you too - what on earth would you do with a whole pile of cabbage and what recipe ideas do you have? 

I did also wonder about sauerkraut........................

Or freezing them.....................but would they be watery and yuk when you go to cook with them? 

Although I don't really fancy the cabbage diet - but then again I do have alot of them........

There is advice about hanging them upside down with roots intacted and storing them that way - but I'd be worried about rats eating them or mice or any kind of rodent if I keep them 'out' there in the byre.

Basically - HELP.

This is not a one way street dear reader, but the only thing I can offer in return is Mr Flowers famous cabbage recipe (which is his mums but I don't think she reads thiso, between you and me, lets let him claim the fame for it. In this house its 'Mr F's Famous cabbage recipe'. Which I wont get right  - its not my recipe but I do cook it too, often badly I'm sure he'll tell you! I might make it later and pop up a photo. I mean, its not like I'm short of cabbage right now.

Mr F Famous cabbage recipe

Green cabbage any type - either lightly boiled/steamed first or not - either way works. If you cook it lightly first do this whole or in finely chopped up bits, drain then squeeze in a tea towel to get rid of excess moisture.  If you've not chopped it yet - chop it now into 1/2 cm square chopped bits. (Approximately, I'm no engineer).

Heat butter or oil in a decent sized frying pan or skillet - and lob in a bit of garlic (finely chopped 1/2 a clove or use the squeezy stuff - which is easy and brilliant and other brands are available). 

Now decide if you are vegetarian or not - that bit is kinda important, I know that you'll know already, but I don't.......... If you are - don't do this bit, read a book for a moment or just, proceed to next step and it will still be yummy. If you're not veggie then fry a handful of cubed bacon in the garlic butter/oil. Or if you're short of bacon (and we often are) a few slices of ham works a treat too. Fry until crispy. 

Once you've got a nice hot pan of either bacon or just garlicky butter/oil - add in the cabbage and saute for a minute or two. 

Add pepper to season if you like - or if you have children like mine, who are allergic to eating anything with too much seasoning - just add pepper on your plate.

Absolutely delish - you'll never make enough of it and even seasoned cabbage haters have been converted by Mr F's famous cabbage recipe (which I'm sure I've got wrong, but hey, I'm sure he'll tell me). Its very yummy. And, if by some kind act of fortune you find yourself with any left over it keeps well and reheats nicely on its own or in bubble and squeak. NOT that I often get any left, due to children who are gannets.

Please help me out with your cabbage recipes - I'd really appreciate it - even if its just a link to one you like.

May the Brassica's be with you but not 26 soggy ones like me..........

(*when not performing godly acts in the kitchen with cabbages, Mr F attends his new guitar blog........, if you're musically minded - or plain inquisitive, do have a peek, I'm sure he'll appreciate it - he's very new to blogging and I'd like to support him to ensure I get a decent cabbage meal now and again. BTW he's very scottish sounding, not like me at all!) 

I'm about as musical as a brick, hes about a botanically minded as a brick too - its a perfect combination of talents. If you pop over do enjoy and pop a comment if you can to say hi, he'd really appreciate it. Although if you do, you'll find out he's not really called Mr Flowers, unless when we do get married we both change our surname - how cool would that be? Mr & Mrs Flowers, I'd really like that.

OK, back to the cabbages - HELP!


  1. I was going to say sauerkraut.. good with Bere Bannock. You could take a stall at the Market for Christmas...
    I've recently discovered that P doesn't much like bere bannock! I'll have to stop force feeding him with them once a week...
    Thanks for the link.

  2. No worries Janet - Never made sauerkraut - easy? Got a nice recipe anyone - is it really salt and cabbage which pickles itself (sounds like making cabbage silage)...........?

    (silage being pickled grass of course - ex farmers wif here)

    Mr F rather surprisingly actually likes them, having tried them last week at a local food thing - I was surprised, didn't think he would.

    Maybe the dog can get P's share?

  3. Oh and look, a new follower or two - a big wave and a hearty hello to you all - how exciting!

  4. Hi Fay,

    C'mon over and check out my cabbage recipes. I have a fair amount including Cabbage Spring Rolls, Thai Cabbage and Mushroom Curry and more recently Creamy Cabbage Pie see link below

    Hope you find something you like, will be back later to catch up x Thanks for the warm words much appreciated.

  5. Hullo! Looks like quite a gale you had! I just fry up garlic and bacon in a bit of olive oil and butter, then add in shredded cabbage and salt. YUM!

  6. Sis, I really question your saininty at times lol was just reading ur post very cute. Hugs to you and the family up north.

  7. shaheen - I was over on your patch earlier!!! Thank you I've bookmarked a few - ace lady.

  8. Mrs B - you're from Mr F school of cooking - brilliant and yum yum. Thank you for popping past.

  9. Hmm now which brother I wonder is anonymous?

    I think the youngest one - dear heart - don't despair - despite the cute (?!) writing, my sanity has never been in question. I don't have any, or being a gardener I'd never have moved up here to this particular cabbage wrecking spot.......

    Hope you had a fun birthday and don't forget to send your 'other' sister a message on hers tomorrow! xx

  10. i have to say, you've got it pretty spot on with err, MY (not my mum's) cabbage recipe.

    Mr. F

  11. I had a particularly good teacher :) thank you Mr F.

  12. Your poor cabbages, they look very unhappy in that photo. I don't eat the stuff at all, except in coleslaw, and its not really the weather for that ... sounds like you've got some help tho, with recipes. And I've bookmarked Janet's page on bannocks - I never really got to grips with bannocks, kept confusing them with pancakes (eggs in them) but bannocks sound much closer to what I want.

    Loving the pic of the girl child too - hope you hauled her back from the brink after the photo :)


  13. The child - oh we left her there - she eventually found her way home - Folk are nice like that here, if you lose something often its returned before you've realised you lost it. (I joke, we did actually bring her home, photos an old one but I do love her hanging on at skara brae in a gale for dear life - for our amusement more than anything - but we did give her gloves).

    Bere bannocks - um no egg no - more like a lovely soft savory scone/bread type thing. How to describe - more moist and soft than a course farl or a soda bread - with a similar but slightly different texture to a scone. (I'm no help)

  14. Here is a cabbage recipe, which my ex-boyfriend invented. He is an utter genius in the kitchen although I never did master this, but when he cooked it it was gorgeous! He used savoy cabbage.

    Savoy cabbage
    Sour cream
    Cumin seeds
    Pasta (spirals work well but any will do!)

    Shred the cabbage - leaves only, and cut across veins rather than along.
    Put in a pan with a small amount of oil on a low heat and stir (add extra oil if needed) until it is translucent, shrunken & soft (15-20mins as a guide).
    As just cooked add 2 large cloves of garlic and fry gently for 5 mins.
    Add some cumin seed & stop cooking.
    Add sour cream & mix in.
    Add to cooked pasta on a plate & season with salt & pepper, parmesan and toasted pine nuts if desired.

    Sorry it's a bit rough and ready but it is yummy I promise!

  15. Bet you spotted this one.,1-0,how_to_freeze_cabbage,FF.html

  16. No cabbage recipes to contribute here - although I do rather like it fried! Saurkraut seems to be the way to go with preserving it - sounds pretty simple (but then I've never done it). Can you hang them up somewhere in the house to preserve them?? Maybe hang baubles from them for Christmas?? :)

  17. Is it not possible to leave some with their roots in the ground? Won't they preserve themselves outdoors in winter?

  18. To solve the puzzle of which brother by the terms of used I would say Neil. For the cabbage try Rumblethumps. One cabbage sliced and simmered, rough cubed boiled potatoes, small-medium neep cubed & boiled, chunk of butter, 2-3 oz chedder grated. Mix / toss / stir in a large dish and serve. Leftovers can be fried. Carrot may be added for colour and or onion to taste. Should freeze like "fishcakes"

  19. I've never made sauerkraut so can't provide a recipe but would imagine that would be the best way to keep a large quantity. Favourites here include red cabbage and potato salad (shredded cabbage, boiled diced potatoes, crumbled feta, fresh chopped cilantro and a dressing of balsamic vinegar, pepper, mayonaise and milk - serve warm or cold), cabbage rolls, and cabbage in stir fry. On the bright side, good job growing 26 heads of cabbage!

  20. I've never grown a cabbage and have no suggestions but I am reading with earnest the other readers suggestions. As an avid footballer - I personally liked the idea of using them for that ;)

  21. savoy cabbage can be dehydrated and crumbled ito stews/soups!

    I like braised red cabbage ......

    soup doesn't have to be the diet variety

    steamed rice stuffed cabbage rolls are nice too seved as a main with tomato sauce

  22. I like braised red cabbage which can be made in a big batch and then frozen loads of great recipes online for this. I think sauerkraut is the best way to preserve it. I've eaten it and like it but have never made it but I think Alys Fowler made it in one of her tv programmes and it looked fairly straight forward. As ever I'm sure the internet will throw up something. I've frozen some kale which I'll use in minestrone soup so maybe you could do the same with cabbage. Hope these ideas help a little. 26 cabbages in one go that is quite a dilemma!!

  23. My favourite cabbage recipe is a cabbage soup, but a big stodgy one - (you can make it without the bacon and/or anchovies for a veggie version).

  24. No, Fay, NOT sauerkraut unless you really enjoy vinegar. Even if you do, it drowns the taste of anything you serve it with.

    If I were you, I would feed the cabbages to the hens, than kill a couple of hens and enjoy cabbage-fed boiled fowl with heavily spiced white sauce, mashed tatties and..cabbage.

    But maybe you are too fond of the chooks?

    K (Who has recently summoned up the strength of will to put the surplus ducks in the freezer)

  25. No ideas for cabbage recipes but loving the flurry of answers. Will watch with interest how this goes. And YAY to new followers too.

  26. There is an award waiting for you to collect it, please visit my blog. Hope you have a good Christmas and the chain saw is behaving itself.

  27. Sauerkraut - LOVE IT!!!! My husband buys me presents of jars of it. You could export some to me.
    Hope you've not had any more damage. Orkney seems to be taking a battering this week.
    No green manure pics for you - somehow i forgot to take any at my last visit.

  28. I find cabbage freezes very well - especially for use in soups, straight from frozen. If it defrosts it can go a bit on the mushy side.

    I too have nominated you for an award :o)

    Best Wishes
    Frugal Wife

  29. Oh Fay! This sounds like such an emergency, all those cabbages! I have found about 6 is enough to render a refrige. useless to other food storage. But I only use cabbage for salad. But Mr.F's recipe sounds good, I will have to try it. So thanks for helping ME find a use for cabbages. Not any real ideas for YOU. Oh I did think of bowling...

  30. Oh wow - awards here - oh I'm utterly overwhelmed - thank you very much - how kind - I don't know why you've picked me but I'm very touched you have.

    Thank you silversewer - I love your blog and the chainsaw is indeed behaving itself!

    Frugal wife - I'm very touched too (not just in the head!) how lovely of you - given the region you live in - perhaps you can hear my acceptance speech in person? One day...........

    Thank you very much, truly kind and a real comfort after the weather of the last few days.

    Warmest thoughts

  31. Linnew I did think football - Mr F's recipe is to die for - would convert even those who loathe cabbage.

    And thank you for recognising what an emergency it really has been. I mean look, Kininvie wants me to force feed my chooks and murder them.

    Do the two of you ONLY think of murder (when out of season for gardening)

  32. Frugal wife I'll attempt freezing them - but I fear the mush that may arrive. Thank you for the award!

    Linda - we've had a bit of a battering - funny in the morning though (post hurricane - google stv if you want to hear the name they actually gave it (!!!!!) everyone one here on the mainland today were doodling about pretty much as normal. Orcadians are amazing at their resilience, and humour I don't think they come tougher and with bigger smiles than those who have the phrase 'lives in Orkney' attached to them.

  33. Linda - sorry got carried away, entirely forgot about my cabbage mountain - when I make a sauerkraut mountain - I'll mail/drop some off :)

    Cheri I hope you're well - looking forward to more of your adventures by blog too!

    Kininvie - I love vingear but NOT on chips utterly vile and potentially illegal. I don't mind a dod of saurkraut but you're right too much and it just takes over like a crazed sour thing.

    I'm sorry to hear about having to 'sort out the ducks' but if you've now got your excess under control and got them ready for eating later - after all they've had a nice life and I'm sure they will be wonderful. However feeding my wonderful chooks cabbage and then slaughtering them for tea - whilst I guess they'll taste nice - I'm not a fan of depleting my labour force out there, these hardy lasses work hard and if they continue to give eggs all winter again this year I may even take them on holiday.
    (No where with foxes)

  34. W Watering can - I'm loving this and trying it tonight! Thank you - will report back.

    squirrel family - I hope you're warm - my what a wealth of cabbage fact there - how exciting all bookmarked under my new 'cabbage folder' and will work my way through things as I go I particularly like the 'bubble and squeak/colcannon type of soup'

    Thank you for a pop past!

  35. Jenni (and Linnew) when the weather improves we will play cabbage football in your honour.

    I will then make the children pick up the bits and we'll cook it and feed the chickens.

    I'll pick a particularly ugly cabbage or one of the stone heads which was so derogatory about the leeks earlier in the year.

  36. Marguerite - thank you for that recipe I'll try and its a very bright side that we grew so many!

    Moira (AKA Mother!) Hello, how lovely to see you and I hope you're well and not to blown away, we are fine too. The grandchildren have not blow away either.

    Rumblethumps - cool and you are officially awesome - what a great name for a dish - I did more cabbagy research - and came up with a link with pictures - very yummy that looks too - I'm looking forward to trying it.

  37. Dear Elephants eye - in an ordinary garden I guess cabbages would stay in the ground - however here they appear to be trying to escape due to the wind we've had lately - I find their behaviour quite rude if truth be told.

    I hope you're well.

  38. Cheery - christmas cabbage baubles hung up - now thats got to be done hasn't it. If I hang them upside down by the roots they might even enjoy it - such fun!

  39. Alistair what a lovely link, I really appreciate that thank you very much!

  40. Vix you sweetie thank you as well - not rough and ready - sounds ace!

    Enjoy driving nr water - but don't fall in.

    What a wonderful set of comments here and on facebook - if you find me there - feel free to add me!

    And I'll cut and paste the recipe from my dear chum Lucy (colonsay ex pat like myself) which she left for me there.

  41. Well my first cabbage tip was pretty much going to be mr. Flowers' recipe, though I often add chilli, or sweet chilli sauce, or a few leeks (could be helpful!) and on occasion peppers. I also love coldslaw done with a yogurty lemony dressing instread of mayo - natural yog, juice of a lemon, bit of black pepper, just enough to coat finely shredded cabbage and carrot and any other rooty thing you have around. Cumin seeds go really well with this too, lightly toasted first, as do lightly toasted walnuts. Finally, you can't beat part-cooking the cabbage as for Mr Flowers' recipe, bunging it in a roasting dish, smothering with cheesy white sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake until golden and bubbly. Leeks go well in this too, in fact it is my main stay for using up winter veg that may be a little past its best. Great with sausages or ham. I want to hear about your polytunnel course...